Imnotaduck is my philosophy in life. It reminds me to be true to myself. It reminds me that it does not matter what people might say about me, as long as I know who I am I will be okay.
This is the true story of how I came to find my true self.
While my husband was learning how to stop drinking in rehab, I was finding myself again through Al-Anon. The road back to me was rough and difficult at times. Being married to an alcoholic had changed me into someone I no longer recognized. Al-Anon was giving me the tools I needed to survive, grow and heal. For those who are interested in knowing how I found Al-Anon, I suggest reading my article: A Prescription for Al-Anon.
When my husband came home from his stay in rehab, He was no longer drinking, but he was still behaving towards me the same way. Alcoholics, and other types of addicts, transfer their guilt. They cannot handle their guilt over what is happening and what they are doing, so they find fault in everything their loved ones do. If you are worse of a human being than they are, then they can live with themselves.
Not only did my husband have layers of guilt, but it had become a habit to find fault with me. In many ways, Al-Anon had prepared me for his return home, but this was one hurdle that I could not get over. Everything he said to me and about me still tore me apart. I could not use the Al-Anon techniques to get me through this aspect of my life. They just would not work for me like so many of the other Al-Anon techniques were working for me.
Al-Anon teaches “I’m not a chair.” When the alcoholic is saying something untrue about you, it is the same as them calling you a chair. You know you are not a chair. They know you are not a chair. And as long as they cannot convince you that you are a chair, you will not be a chair. Did NOT work for me! I just could not figure out how to apply this concept.
I begged one of the long-timers from my favorite Al-Anon meeting group to help me with this concept. She told me to meet her for lunch the next day and we would talk about it.
We went to Hardees at lunchtime. The place was crowded. She sat down in the middle of the restaurant. Then, when we were almost finished eating, she began…
She said: “You are a duck.” I just stared at her. She said it louder: “You are a duck.” I just looked at her. She said it louder and louder and then began quacking: “You’re a duck! You’re a duck! Quack! Quack! Quack! YOU’RE A DUCK! YOU’RE A DUCK! QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!” People were staring at us! My face was beet red! I was completely embarrassed. She kept going until I finally just said, very softly: “I’m not a duck.” Then she said: “That’s right and don’t you EVER forget it!”
And I haven’t. I am not a duck. Imnotaduck. When I began applying this principle to my life, my husband said he did not want me to go back to Al-Anon any more because they were brainwashing me! Ha! Ha!
Whenever he tried to transfer his guilt onto me, I just walked away. Whenever he hounded me, I told him that I was not a duck, that he could call me one all he wanted, but I still was not a duck. It was not the response he wanted and it would only make him angrier with me. Since I was not behaving like a crazy angry woman towards him when he transferred his guilt onto me, he finally had to deal with his own guilt. It was really tough at first. He had never had to face himself before, and he wasn’t happy about that. Our household was in a constant uproar over this, but he was finally the only one in the household participating in that uproar.
Soon, he figured out that I was not a duck. He came to realize what his actions had done to his family. He stayed sober for two years, which is pretty good for the first time around.
Imnotaduck has helped me many times in life since then. When someone is trying to get me in trouble at work because they want to deflect attention from a mistake they made – Imnotaduck. When someone I’m volunteering with wants to put the blame solely on me for something that did not work out – Imnotaduck. When my family wants me to do something I don’t want to do and they not only get mad at me for not doing it, but begin to remind me of all of my faults – Imnotaduck. The list goes on.
Whenever my husband and I are disagreeing and he says something that crosses the line, I say: “Imnotaduck,” and he says: “Okay.”
I define Imnotaduck as : be true to yourself. Love yourself despite what others may do or say. You know who you are and those closest to you know who you are; you don’t need to convince anybody of who you are. Imnotaduck.
Note: This is the second in a series of co-dependency articles I am writing. Please make sure to read the first in this series: A Prescription for Al-Anon. Check back regularly for more installments.